Today we’re joined for a pixelated pint by the comedian Su Mi ahead of her show at The Spacement at the Glitch as part of VAULT Festival this coming Sunday. The show, Su Mi: Banana Beard is an immersive comedy – with absurdist sketches and foot-stomping music to boot. As you’ll read, her boundless energy bounces off the wall, and we wanted to get to know how the show came together. We sat down with Su to talk about being a Queer comedian of South-East asian descent in the predominantly white British comedy circuit. Join us for a digital pint as we find out who is hiding underneath that bountiful banana beard.
Catch Su Mi: Banana Beard at 17:15 this Sunday 5th March in The Spacement at the Glitch on Lower Marsh, Waterloo. Tickets are available through the VAULT Festival Box Office.
Hey Su Mi! You’ve put together an immersive comedy with absurdist sketches and music all mashed together – what made you want to put this show together?
Why helloooo BingeFringe, you cheeky chap.
I’ve always been captivated by the wonderfully weird and absurd since I was a little babba. Music and comedy can evoke such a visceral, otherworldy emotion and it mind boggles me how it can simultaneously make everyone connect together all at once. Absolutely WILD. Why immersive? Oo I think mostly because I enjoy watching people squeel / low-key enjoy themselves when having to deal with stranger interactions. Also exciting for me to see where I can take it if anywhere!
The show celebrates your experiences growing up as an immigrant child of South-East Asian descent in East London – what about your experiences informs the comedy and where have you found the humour in your upbringing?
Oh boy oh boy. My life is a goddamn joke. Haha!
Every sweet sweet little microaggression, every tantalising racial slur and every time someone has mistaken me for that Asian friend they met on the bus, I have stored and nurtured over 32 years and poured into this show, in a humorous way of course. Also my mom is a goddamn legend and goddess and fuelled my creativity. I love London. I ADORE being Asian. And the combination of both is sometimes ridiculous but entertaining.
You’ve described yourself as challenging the narrative of comedy, which is a predominantly white space, how do you feel about your work in doing so thus far and what challenges have you come up against?
Could go on and on and on about representation amd dangnabbit I will. Comedy, especially Alternative/ Character comedy is an incredibly white space , it’s harrowing. I can count on my toes how many Asian comedians, let’s alone female Asian comedians , let alone WOC character comediennes there are. Just feel like I need to constantly remind people we are not a niche, or even here to make your line up more diverse.
When challenging the narrative I want to say I’m actively doing things left right and centre but I’m a lazy old fart, just doing what I find funny is and should be enough. It has taken me a VERY long time to live authentically true to myself.
There are so many different spicy flavas of Asian women and women of colour so fock societies archaic stereotypes in the butthole. I AM SO OVER IT.
I’m very happy being a Curly haired , Asian , Malaysian Muslim born, Queer, Guitar thrashing , tattooed , female identifying person with a plethora of mental health issues / anxiety / depression with tig old biddies and a belly full of crisps. Oh who also does comedy.
MORE women of colour in comedy. Yes we may have to work harder than our counterparts cos it’s systemic bro SO LETS GET TO IT NO REST FOR THE WICKED👏
Tell us a little bit about the process of creating the show and what you have been up to ahead of VAULT Festival.
Debuted the original show at the Camden Fringe 2022 and had a sold out run! Took it to Women in Comedy Festival and now fine tuning this baby so it’s sharper and even weirder and wackier. It’s been a journey , especially the last week coming up the show. Hopefully should pay off! Fingers crossed.
Now that we’re gearing up for your show at VAULT Festival 2023, what are you most excited for?
I BLOODY LOVE VAULT FESTIVAL. I’ve genuinely missed it so much and feel so honoured to be part of it this year. The *~vibes~* are so groovy. Can’t wait to finish the show and get sloshed with my mates and watch some weird freaky deaky shows.
Fitting with the themes of our magazine, if your show was an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage (think cocktails, mocktails, shots, beers, be creative!) what would it be?
Something very fruity, flirty and dirty. Like a cocktail with a hair in it.